The Deal

Peter Kilander peterk at
Fri Jul 10 17:12:09 PDT 1998

>Shouldn't the FDR administration be judged
>by the times it was in? Isn't the historical
>context relevant to good marxmanship? I'm
>reminded of a little book called "Flatland,"
>a two-dimensional world whose beings understand
>length and width but have no depth.

Tired from a week of 9 to 5 and too lazy to put the following in my own words, here's some friendly reminders from Mr. Christopher Hitchens:

"There was F.D.R. the good and F.D.R. the bad. F.D.R. the bad was the man who betrayed the Spanish Republic, shut the doors of the United States to desperate refugees from Europe and campaigned ruthlessly to take over the British Empire as an American dominion. (You can read the evidence for this on almost every page of the three-volume Churchill-Roosevelt Correspondence, published in 1984.) Every time Roosevelt extended the least support to the anti-Hitler policy of his supposed friend, he exacted an immense and immediate price. In return for a few clapped-out destroyers, the British bases in the West Indies. In return for some other credits, a whole shipload of South African gold. Gradually, Roosevelt got his hands on everything from British air-transport routes to the Anglo-Iranian oil company. Churchill at one point compared him to "a sheriff collecting the last assets of a helpless debtor." In many ways this was doing Britain an indirect favor by disencumbering it of Empire. But, as they don't teach you in school, it was also laying the basis for a future and much more cumbrous American imperium. If you add to this the fact that it was massive rearmament, and not the New Deal, that pulled America out of the slump then you can indeed hold Roosevelt responsible for the empire, the national security state and the military-industrial complex -- the foundations of "big government." This gave the rest of the globe a bit more to fear than fear itself. "

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